The Washington Wizards will aim for a win-streak tonight in Brooklyn as they take on the 9-15 Nets. Bradley Beal scored 21 points in New York Monday after a nine-game absence (right fibula), and Martell Webster dropped a season-high 30 points off the bench. The scoring will be there for Washington, but the question will be whether or not Nene will be able to give it a go (tendinitis).
With Beal back, the Wizards have all of the important pieces needed to fill the boxscore. He's shooting 44.8% from behind the three-point arc (8th overall) and is a do-it-all--even some defense--kind of guy. Defense--or lack of defense--remains to be the one thing which is preventing Washington from earning a spot as one of the few teams in the Eastern Conference with an above-.500 record.
Washington had a huge game from Beal the last time they met Brooklyn, and the Nets will be looking for payback tonight at home. Nene was also a big part of the Wizards' OT win, and losing him tonight--especially on the defensive end--would be tough. Either way, expect Trevor Ariza to step things up after his 2-for-8 performance back home.
One of the big questions this offseason was whether or not the Wizards could actually get to the Playoffs. It's been six up-and-down years since the franchise enjoyed their last postseason run, and--so far--it's looking like Washington is on pace to get back this spring.
The two best teams in the Eastern Conference--the 20-4 Indiana Pacers and the 18-6 Miami Heat--will duke it out tonight on ESPN (7 p.m. ET). The story thus far, after about 25 games, is Western Conference dominance. After the Heat and the Pacers, there's a huge drop-off in the East. The top 9 teams in the West are all above .500 ball right now, while the East boasts only three teams with winning records.
Washington is currently 7th in the East, at 10-13. If the Wizards win tonight--and the Toronto Raptors top the Charlotte Bobcats--the Wizards could jump ahead to 6th.
7:30 p.m. ET @ Brooklyn (CSN)
Al Harrington is out indefinitely after right knee surgery (at least one month). He hasn't been a real factor for Washington all season (although he did drop 15 points on the Nets in their prior meeting at home). A bigger concern, over the short run, is Nene, who is questionable tonight due to right foot tendinitis. Nene will be battling tendinitis for the rest of his career, and will need to rest every now and again to make it through the season.